Veterans Minister Joe Francis today joined a nationwide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of one of Australia's bloodiest engagements of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Long Tan.
At a service at Charles Riley Memorial Reserve in North Beach, Mr Francis said the battle's date, August 18, 1966, had special significance for all Australians who served in the war.
"Since 1987, the date has been remembered as Vietnam Veterans Day. Long Tan was the first time in the conflict that our troops were engaged in a major battle," he said.
"On that day half a century ago, 108 men of Delta Company, 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, were attacked by up to 2,500 battle-hardened Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars.
"The Australians held off the enemy throughout the afternoon and into the night, saved from annihilation by helicopter ammunition drops, artillery support and a relief force of armoured vehicles and infantry."
The Battle of Long Tan left 18 Australian soldiers dead and 24 wounded.
"Our Vietnam veterans are a significant part of the ANZAC legacy. We honour them as we honour the service and sacrifice all of our servicemen and women from all conflicts," the Minister said.
To commemorate the Long Tan anniversary, the City of Perth will light Council House today and tomorrow in the tri-service colours of the Australian Defence Force.
Minister's office - 6552 6500